Archive for November, 2008

Two Great Events-One Full Blog!

November 29, 2008

What a week!!!!! From Tuesday to Friday we packed in Knotts Berry Farm, Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping and a Tesla show (we are loving their new album! Check it out!). You’d think I’d be tired, but I’m still running off of the energy from each of those events. The crash is not going to be pretty!

We’ve visited Knotts Berry Farm during their annual military promotion, several times. It’s one of the annual events the kids count on. It’s always a lot of fun and each year the kids like to see who’s gotten big enough for which rides. One of my favorite things is to take in the show at Mystery Lodge. We always take the kids out of school on a Tuesday or Wednesday and head up for the day. Going during the week has made all the difference in the lines! We’ve kind of spoiled ourselves!


The Whole Lang Clan, ready for a day of fun at Knotts!


Tristan, Max, Gabi and Luke-Xavier with Snoopy


One of my sisters joined us for the adventure. We both got to ride with the little ones in Camp Snoopy.


Max and Gabi had SO MUCH FUN!


Several of us enjoyed the merry-go-round! Luke-Xavier insisted on 3 rides in a row.

And onto Thanksgiving! We’ve been going out for Thanksgiving since Gabriella was born. After trying it once, we knew it was the best way to go. We get a beautiful view, no mess and no clean up. We have been fortunate to have beautiful days each year and this year was no different.


The entire Clan dressed for Thanksgiving dinner.


The 4 youngest kiddos, finished with dinner and heading out to the beach

Now Kateri and JJ are back at school and my sister is back home. We enjoyed having everyone with us, so much! I can’t wait for the next few weeks to pass so that I can have them back again! It’s time for me to focus on Christmas and to decide not to stress that it’s so close. Lists, lists, lists!

Have a great day~

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Mommy of Many Show #52: Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m so thankful to have all my kids together for this holiday! Everyone is safe and healthy. It’s been a good year. Clay returned, safely, from a 7-month deployment and is home to lend a hand in all things. All my endeavors have been met with positive reactions.

I hope that you each have a wonderful day and are able to take a moment to focus on the blessings in your lives.


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When Your Big Brother Comes Home From School………..

November 25, 2008

He buys you gifts that Mom and Dad might not get you……

like a fancy, princess chair that plays royal music every time you sit down…..

or a hobby-horse that makes giddy-up noises (such a happy face!!!!!)……

or even a plethora of foam weapons to battle each other with!

JJ came home and went to Toys R Us to make up for some birthdays that he’s missed while he was at school. He made a houseful of happy kiddos!

They played hard and slept peacefully………horse in tow.
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Kateri got in, late last night and this morning we are loading up with the whole Lang Clan, a few friends and an auntie to spend the day at Knotts Berry Farm. This is an annual tradition for our family. We’ve been going since Arianna, who is now 13 , was a baby in a backpack. It’s always a ton of fun! Picture blog soon!

Have a great day~

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Mommy of Many Show #51: Losing the Baby Weight

November 23, 2008

After 9 years of holding onto some stubborn “baby weight”, I’m finally having some success with shedding the pounds. Now it’s time to make a commitment to working out, getting healthier and feeling great!

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I’m a Happy M.O.M.

November 22, 2008

JJ’s plane came in late last night. He’s home for the Thanksgiving break. The younger kids were so happy to see him when they woke this morning!

JJ and Tristan were able to kayak together this morning. JJ started over the summer and Tristan started in September. This was the first chance they’ve had to be out, on the water, together. It was really nice to see them enjoying something together!

I’ll be an even happier M.O.M. come Monday night, when Kateri comes in. I’m really looking forward to having everyone together for the week!

Have a great day~

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Let the Holiday Season Begin!

November 21, 2008

Last night I attended the first of a string of ornament exchanges and Holiday parties. I have to admit that I wasn’t really ready to jump into the Season even though I know it’s around the corner. But there’s nothing better to get you into the spirit than a little Christmas music, some great food to overindulge in, a beautifully decorated house, Christmas presents and a real tree. How this amazing woman was able to have a REAL Christmas tree BEFORE Thanksgiving is beyond me, but she did it! By the end of the evening I was ready to get home and pull out the decorations, hit the stores and write the Christmas cards. There is truly a feeling that goes with the Season!

I am realizing that the whirlwind is upon me. Tonight, JJ gets home for a week of Thanksgiving break. Kateri comes in on Monday. Next week will come and go so quickly! We have plans for family activities like spending a day at Knott’s Berry Farm and of course a big dinner with lots of friends for Thanksgiving. Then, the week will be over, the kids will fly back to school and I’ll stand in the whirlwind that is “the last days before Christmas”. There will be the flurry of decorating. The shopping for everyone. The endless wrapping. The writing and addressing of Christmas cards. The string of parties. The calendar is already so full until the end of the year! It seems that as a military spouse, this time of year gets overloaded with parties. Yes, there are the parties with civilian friends and people from school, but it seems that the social gatherings with others whom we are connected by the military are abundant.

So, it’s time to shop for a great party outfit, or two, double check the calendar and try not to get stressed!

To the Holidays!

Have a great day~

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Losing That Baby Weight!

November 18, 2008

Last night I helped a friend with a jewelry show. I love talking to people and meeting people, so striking up conversations and sharing how much I enjoy wearing Silpada Jewelry wasn’t tough to do. The hostess had a great turn-out of friends from all areas of her life. A couple of her friends were obviously ladies she had met at the gym. They were toned and beautiful and you could just tell that being in the gym was a part of their lives. We started talking about weight loss and working out. I shared that I’ve recently lost some very stubborn baby-weight and that now it’s time to get to the gym and start a good routine of working out.

In the course of the conversation, the number of children I have came up. This is always a conversation turner! The minute someone asks, “How many children do you have?” and I respond with, “nine”, the conversation takes on a whole new life! Last night was no different!

To make a long story a little shorter; we ended up at a point where I was being encouraged to share the fact that I have lost 30 lbs. with my readers and listeners. The funny thing is that I never thought of it! Sometimes I completely forget to mention things that are going on over here! Anyway……………

After my first 5 kiddos I lost the baby weight very easily. It seemed that my body was in a good routine of pregnancy and then bouncing back. After Maddi (our 5th child) we had a miscarriage . It was really hard on both of us and I ultimately went on antidepressants to counter the effects. I stayed on the medication for about 4 years. In the first year I gained about 30 lbs! The weight went on SO quickly! I got pregnant with Tristan (our 6th) about 10 or 11 months after starting the medication. Tristan is now 9 yrs. old and I swear I’ve been carrying that weight ever since! It’s been a source of frustration for me for all these years. Of course, I had 3 more children after Tristan, but I felt that through diet and exercise the weight should come off, just like it had with the first 5 kids. It didn’t happen!

Fast forward to this year. Now, Luke-Xavier is two and I started making a real effort to drop some of the weight at the beginning of this year. I felt overwhelmed with the amount of weight I felt needed to be lost, so I decided to just focus on a goal of 10 lbs. Between January and March I was able to achieve that goal. It felt GREAT to finally see a different number on the scale! I decided to keep that same goal in mind and to see if I could do it again. To be honest, I was able to lose about 5 more lbs between May and June, but nothing else was happening. Then in July I stopped nursing Luke-Xavier. He had turned 2 yrs. old in April and was still a really strong nurser. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to keep nursing for life! I finally dug my heels in and weened him. Within weeks of weening I began to lose more weight. Ultimately between the end of July and the end of Sept. I was able to drop 20 lbs. without much effort.

Some of the things that helped me FINALLY lose this weight are;

I stopped snacking
I cut my portions and never have a second helping
If I’m eating something and one or more of the kids ask for a bite, I say yes. I’ve found that I can eat anything I want as long as I share it! Imagine eating a candy bar or ice cream in this house! As soon as the kids see it they flock around me like ducks to bread crumbs. In the end I end up with a bite or two. Perfect! I think that’s my favorite tip!

So, I still have 10 or 15 lbs that I’d like to lose, but it’s really time to think about exercise. I’m in no hurry to lose the last of the weight since I’m still breaking in the new clothes I’ve bought or been handed. But adding a daily walk or some time at the YMCA will surely help me tone up.

I’ll keep you posted!

Have a great day~

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A Mommy of Many Quick Tip

November 15, 2008

During this time of the year we tend to put out decorations. A lot of the time I have my table decorated which means a table cloth and garland etc. When the kids get crumbs on the table, it’s a pain to remove everything to shake out the table cloth.

Quick tip; brush as many crumbs off with you hand, as you can. Use a lint roller to pick up the rest. It’s super fast and easy and keeps the table cloth clean!

Have a great day~

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Mommy of Many and Tales of Lil Car

November 14, 2008

Lil Car-1

Well, here she is, Lil Car. I’ve had her for a week now and I haven’t driven Big Bertha, the White Whale, once since she’s been here. I was happy that Lil Car was on it’s way to me, but thought I’d feel weird driving something that was so much smaller than what I’ve been used to. I’ve had the van for over 2 years and before that we had Suburbans. But, it hasn’t felt weird at all! I’ve also realized that I really only drive with 3 or 4 of the kids at any given time. Yes, there are occasions like going to church or family outings or all the times in the summer where I had 13 children, that nothing but the van would do. But for a daily driver, Lil Car and I are going to be friends. Here’s an example of how she’s made my life easier AND made me a happier driver;

It’s time for grocery shopping again. I have a Trader Joe’s down the road from me and I regularly shop there for certain items. Because I live in a beach town, parking is always hard to find (though I was recently in a Trader Joe’s in Sacramento and the parking was no better. Maybe it’s just Trader Joe’s parking lots!) and the parking slots seem small. I’ve always had to be patient when it came to parking because of what I drove. I had to keep in mind what was behind me and the fact that the doors on the van opened out and if someone parked too close to me, that I wouldn’t be able to open them to load anything. Parking in the last 2 years has taken some thought and planning. So, here I was on my way to Trader Joe’s. As I passed the store, I made a mental note of the parking along the curb. Normally this would be the perfect place for me to come back to and comfortably park. So I drove to the lot behind the store, thinking I would come around and park. NOPE! I simply slipped into one of the spaces between 2 other cars, gave NO thought to anyone being too close or blocking me in and happily went about my shopping. When I was done, I simply loaded everything in the back and easily pulled out of the lot. Whew! I felt like any other shopper.

Yes, this is just the beginning! Lil Car and I will have many shopping trips, adventures and tales. I’m happy she’s here!

Have a great day~

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And So Begins Another Day………….

November 12, 2008

My alarm went off at 4:15 today, just like every other day. I jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth etc. Then I headed over here, to the computer to check email and to write the blog. I got everything all set up and realized I didn’t hear the familiar sound of the coffee pot brewing my morning’s first cup o’ coffee. Dang! Up from the computer and into the kitchen to set it up. I put the water in and grabbed the Tuperware container that holds the beans. There were enough beans for a rip-roarin’ 1/2 cup of coffee! Seriously?! I was just at Starbucks last night! So, I abandoned the computer and went to get dressed and head to Starbucks. Thank goodness they open when I wake up! By 5 am I was out the door and driving to my neighborhood store. I got the beans (2 bags so as not to run out as soon) and oh yeah, I needed a gift card. So, throw the gift card in there. What’s this?…..the new Gold Card? 10% off all my purchases and a free drink today, not to mention other perks once I register it online. And all for only $25! Yeah, let’s throw that in there. Ok, by 5:20 am I had spent $63!

But hey, my drink was FREE!

Have a great day~

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Mommy of Many Show #50: Taking Care of Mom

November 10, 2008

In the fast-paced, busy world of being a mom it’s easy to lose track of yourself. After 7 months of focusing on the kids and the house and another month of getting used to having Clay back, it was time for me to remember that I need a little “me” time. I was able to take a 4-day trip to Northern California to visit family and friends and gather my thoughts. As moms we wear many hats and can’t always get away, but we need to remember that it’s always important to find a way to nurture ourselves, even when at home. I feel strongly that part of that nurturing process is having a good community of people in your life. Take the time to make and keep connections with other moms who share your ideals. A good support system and strong community help build a stronger you and the stronger and more whole you are, the better you can be for your family!

Thank you for visiting the site and for listening to the show! I appreciate your comments and suggestions. You can email me at Jen@MommyofMany.com or by using the contact link on the right.

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A Mommy of Many Andventure

November 9, 2008

Here is an account of the adventure I’ve had over the last 24 hours.

Yesterday afternoon, Tristan needed to be at the church to serve in a wedding. I took him and stayed for the wedding and then decided to make it a “Mommy and Me” day with him. So, I asked him where he wanted to eat and off we headed to Pick Up Stix. Yum! Then it was over to MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) to pick up a bike for him, some new sunglasses (mine liked Sacramento so much they decided to stay) for me and an iPod player for my new car (next blog!). We got everything purchased, including a new movie for a family-movie-night when I accidentally whapped myself in the eye with the very hard and sharp, key tag for my new car. OWWWW! I knew I had probably scratched my eye, but it felt like something was in it. It continued to bother me the rest of the day and throughout the evening. I headed for bed figuring I’d wake up with it feeling fine.

Wrong!

My eye was all puffy and wouldn’t stop watering. I figured something was stuck in it, for sure! So at 5 am I made the command decision to head to the ER. I left instructions for Clay to keep the kids on the Sunday morning schedule and get them to Liturgy. May I say that Sunday morning is a perfect time to go to the ER? There were only 5 other people in the waiting room and I was walked into triage upon checking in. That’s service for you! After having my eye dyed and looked at under a blue light, I was told that I had cut it and would need antibiotic drops for the next few days. I was also told that it feels like something’s in it because there is a flap of skin that my eyelid brushes up against. I’m trying hard not to think about that part because it makes me queazy!

This has not been a good week for me and keys!

Have a great day~

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A Forgetful, Yet Funny Story

November 7, 2008

Have you ever done something and immediately thought of what the consequences might be?

Last night I took Arianna shopping for some school clothes. While she headed into Old Navy to try things on, I decided to take a few minutes and go into Marshalls to look for some shoes for myself. I wasn’t carrying my purse, just my wallet, keys and phone. I decided it would be a good idea to hook my keys onto the the basket so they wouldn’t fall through and get lost. I made a mental note not to forget them. I need to remember that my mental notepad is out of paper and needs to be replaced! So off I go trying on and ultimately finding a pair of shoes to purchase. Then off to meet up with Arianna to see what she’s found. We spent a bit of time debating a pair of pants she wanted. We didn’t bring them home. Once we were checked out at Old Navy, I remembered that Mariah needed a book for school and hey, there’s a Borders right next to Old Navy. So into Borders we go to find the book. After buying the book and some coffee, I was beat and ready to head home. We headed for the van. WAIT A MINUTE! Where are my keys? In the bottom of the bag? My pocket? Where the heck could those keys be? AHHHHHH! “Jen, remember (remnants of the mental notepad trying to speak), you hooked them onto the basket in Marshalls so that they wouldn’t get lost”. No!

We started walking briskly back to the store in the hope that the basket would still be sitting in the same place I’d left it. Yeah right! No basket! I went to the counter and asked if any keys had been turned in. “No”. I explained what had happened and an announcement was made asking everyone to look at their baskets for keys hanging from it. I made a mental note to start listening to announcements because, hey, they just might be important! No one else made that note!

So begins my time in Marshalls, looking like a stalker. I sent Arianna outside to check the baskets that were lined up. Then I started walking the isles looking at each basket. Sometimes I had to say things like, “Excuse me, could you pick up those clothes? I just need to look at the back of the basket”. Ever try to explain something in 2 seconds? Not so good! I had people make many a comment to me. But after checking as many baskets as I could, I felt dejected and headed back to the front to see if they’d been turned in. Nope! It was time to make a phone call. The most frustrating part was that the other set of keys were sitting inside the van in my purse. If I would have just carried my purse in, I would have had 2 sets of keys and not had to worry about them falling through the basket to the floor. Another mental note, “carry your purse!”. I decided to check the baskets of the people in line. I uttered a little prayer to St. Anthony (patron of lost things and a good friend of mine) and headed to the line. “Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, YOU HAVE MY KEYS!”. Poor man! I am positive that either he didn’t speak english or he was dumb-struck. Every head turned to look at the crazy lady shouting a joyous shout at this poor man. “No, really! You have my keys. See, they’re right there”. He unhooked them and handed them to me. I held them high, gave them a jingle and marched victoriously out of the store. Whoo Hoo! I’m a lucky girl!

Thanks St. Anthony! I owe you!

DON’T HOOK YOUR KEYS ONTO A BASKET AND THEN WALK AWAY. Unless, of course, you want to play a game of hide and seek!

Have a great day~

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Mommy of Many Takes a Break

November 6, 2008

I know it’s been pretty quiet over here for a little while. Let me catch you up!

Last Friday (Halloween) we had company come into town. My brother caught a ride, from Northern California, with 2 of Clay’s long-time friends who were each bringing one of their children down to spend the weekend and to trick-or-treat with our kids. We also had one of the girls’ friends come to stay for a few days. As you can imagine, it was a very full house! On Halloween we decided to check out a carnival that was being put on at USD and then to attend the women’s basketball game. We had a couple of extra friends join us for that. I think that by the time we left our house on Halloween night, that we were a group of 18! We had to take 2 vehicles, even with the 15-passenger van. Everyone had a good time and we ALWAYS enjoy a Lady Toreros game. It could have something to do with the fact that we’ve known one of the players, Amber Sprague, since she was in 8th grade. It’s fun to watch her do something she’s so good at! We stayed for half the game and then gave into the kids’ yearning to go trick-or-treating. Living in military housing means A GAZILLION kiddos at each door on Halloween! It’s looked at as a safe place to bring your kids and the people pour in.


an array of kiddos before the festivities


Max-A Knight in Shining Armour


Gabi-A Cat


Clay and the guys, just before taking the kids to the carnival

After the kids were thoroughly worn-out, we called it a night.

The following morning, I got on a plane and headed out of the mayhem. Now that Clay’s home, we decided it was my turn for a little break. I spent 4 days visiting family and friends in Northern California. I don’t make it up there very often, so it was nice to get a chance to catch up. 5 of my siblings live in that area, as well as my parents. Being away made me realize that a laptop just might be in order!

While I was visiting with family and friends, Clay and the guys had the house in “project” mode. This means that the things I haven’t even thought to think are going to be changed. It also means that “regular house keeping” is a term spoken in a foreign language that no one could possible decipher. When I left, I told the kids to pretend they were camping in their own home. Loosely put, that means, bathing and clothing are optional and to expect top ramen or pizza as the daily menu. I wasn’t far off the mark!

My plane returned me to San Diego at 10:30 pm and I was greeted by a well-groomed husband, carrying roses. Aw! He drove me home to proudly show off all that had been accomplished in my absence. When we arrived he grabbed my bag from the car and we headed to the front door. It was opened to reveal a wealth of clean laundry spilling off of the couch and onto the living room floor. Hey, it was CLEAN laundry and that’s all that should matter! I was led through the kitchen to see the new door on the playroom, as well as the new lighting. I had a hard time focusing on all the newness because there was a crunching sound under my feet as I walked. Cereal, chips, sugar? Yeah, all of the above. Then through the dining room (is that squished avocado on the floor?! What’s all over the table?) and down the hall (why are there so many towels scattered in the hall?) to show off the handy work done on the boys’ door. Then onto our room where a brand-new and secure door had been installed. This means no more shoving the laundry basket in front of the door to guard against uninvited kiddos who ignore closed doors and even locks. I’m pretty sure we have, at least, 2 budding locksmiths!

So, I spent yesterday trying to decide where to start. The avocado on the floor was a pretty good sign that they dining room floor wanted attention. I have 2 weeks until my older kids come home for Thanksgiving and I’m thinking that might, just be enough time!

Back to Doing the Dance!

Have a great day~

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